Let’s Talk Unity

“Joy Comes” will be a blog that alludes to the passage of scripture in Psalm 35:4, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” Joy Comes will be about hope — which seems elusive at this time — for unity within the United Methodist Church “family.” This hope comes through the “weeping” for some sisters and brothers who have conceded to “amicable separation” as what they may be praying for. Therefore, the greatest hope with some in our larger family is a peaceful division of the denomination. Much like the church split in 1844 over the single issue of slavery and the complicated ethical and political issues in the country surrounding this matter, we now come to the brink of separation again, this time regarding homosexuality.

My hope is higher than division; and my excitement for a stronger, more focused denomination comes through my pastoral experience with YOU — Lovers Lane United Methodist Church. So, let’s talk.

Joy Comes will be written as, “Pastor to beloved congregation.” Lovers Lane United Methodist Church, for the past 20 years I have been blessed by God in pastoring YOU. God has taught me so much and is still teaching me, through service with one another in this 73-year-old church family. My prayer is that Joy Comes will not be experienced as a “bully pulpit” or “preachy.” I do not want it to come across as having a corner on the correct approach. Rather, I aspire to write in a testimonial way, to hopefully be helpful to our congregation of United Methodists here in Dallas as we navigate through a journey as a denomination.

Lovers Lane, we are surely not a people of one mind, but we must continue to be a people of one heart.

 

We will stand united, no matter what the denomination does, if we have the spiritual maturity to realize that we do not all have to believe alike, vote alike, look alike, or live alike, but we do all have to love alike — like our Lord and Savior, Jesus. Be reminded that we state in our congregational vision why we exist, and that is to be “One diverse community, passionately engaging the Bible, uplifting Jesus in worship and loving service and challenging in love that which divides.” Moreover, is not there plenty in our culture today that divides? Does that make us “right” or “left” “conservative” or “progressive”? The answer is “yes,” and this is the key to our unity.

May we never be a congregation that is brought to our knees by a culture that would have us bow at the altar of “homogeny,” or continue to disobey and disavow our Book of Discipline, or accept division as our only way forward. Joy Comes will aspire to be a conversation grounded in the belief that God will reveal for United Methodists a “more excellent way” forward. Join weekly in our discussion, and if you think our conversation is helpful, share it with others, and invite them to eavesdrop, or even join.

Our Lovers Lane mantra is “ALL are welcome,” and in that spirit let us not just talk, but let’s talk unity and pray for it, too.

14 Replies to “Let’s Talk Unity”

  1. *grabbing a seat, pulling it out to sit in and joining you, Rev. Stan Copeland, at this Table*

    May God anoint this “table” with the Holy Spirit guidance always!

    Excited!

  2. This is not my table. This is God’s table and He invites everyone. Who am I to deny anyone if God says come?

  3. Stan I love your take on this & I can only hope & pray that our denomination take an approach such as this when the big showdown comes…. all of us need to be in a very prayful state seeking God’s direction for our leadership , our churches & our own individual commitment asking God’s will to be done .

    1. You are right on concerning prayer. I pray for a growing “center” of our denomination and for it to hold so that our “connection” can continue with strength to serve a world in need.

  4. AMEN!! May God bless you and LLUMC!! Praying for you and my former, beloved church! You continue to be a “lighthouse” on the corner of Northwest Highway and Inwood! Sylvia Gilley!

    1. Thank you Sylvia. Your encouragement and prayer through the years have comforted this pastor. May God continue to ourselves so dependent on our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ as the source of the light that we share.

  5. I’m so hopeful that we can find the “radical center” on this issue. I have written before about how my mind has been changed by watching people live out “lives that become the Gospel.” I hope we remember John Wesley’s charge: “If your heart is as my heart, take my hand and walk with me.”

  6. This is a tough one folks.
    This issue of recognizing homosexuals as part of The Methodist Church will become too complicated for the church, as a whole to handle, if it is couched within the description of homosexual behavior as texted in the New Testament. Almost all that is written in the New Testament about homosexuality is written within the context of power and pleasure within Rome and its satellites. The relationship of a homosexual spiritual relationship with God and our savior Jesus is not mentioned to my knowledge. So, cannot a homosexual have an experience of humility before God in the Methodist Church regardless of what our discipline states? Can we accept that within our mission?

    It seems to me that it may be wise to stop using the acronym LGBTQ in our discussion. That is an organized political acronym used in the rights movement. We should stay away from those who wish to bring politics into our church. Leave politics out. LGBTQ is much too controversial and radical and can lead to self-righteousness indignation when forced on the church as a whole.
    Address homosexuality and the church without bringing in the radicalization of the LGBTQ political rights movement. Homosexuality and the church is solvable without LGBTQ.

    Finally, I love the Methodist Church. I love Pastor Stan Copeland. I love LLUMC and its mission of Bringing all people into a loving relationship with Jesus Christ! Nothing is impossible with God!
    David Siller

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